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Russia To Add More Far East Rail Freight Containers 

The Eurasian Union of Rail Freight Traffic Participants (ESP), which includes Russia’s largest container operators, has stated a need to bring back additional container train runs from central Russia to the Russian Far East. The Russian shift from markets in Europe to markets in Asia has created logistics bottlenecks.  

Due to the lack of railway infrastructure on the eastern route, there is now a significant imbalance between export freight traffic headed east and imports going west, which has led to a massive accumulation of empty containers in the European part of Russia. As much of Russia’s export freight base is in Siberia, local shippers are experiencing a shortage of containers. In future, there will be a restructuring of freight traffic, but until this happens a number of support measures are needed. 

The decision to run an additional three container trains per day on top of the existing 19 trains, bringing the total to 22 trains, was made at the end of 2022. Along with other measures, this made it possible to ship out imported containers and decongest overwhelmed ports in the Russian Far East.

The ESP said in its report for 2023 that shipments of containerized freight by railway in Russia could increase by 10%-11% in 2024.

The freight base for container shipments on eastern railways heading east could have increased by 38% to 32.7 million tonnes in 2024 from 23.7 million tonnes in 2023 in the absence of infrastructure constraints, the ESP said. Given the potential growth of the freight base, 36 container trains per day need to be running east along Russia’s eastern railways in 2024, the report said. The ESP expects these figures to grow to 48.9 million tonnes and 52 container trains per day by 2035.

The ESP was formed by Russia’s largest container operators and its members own about 95% of the fleet of well cars operating on the Russian Railways network. They also account for over 92% of the combined capacity of transport and logistics centers and about 63% of the capacity of marine container terminals in Russia. 

Further Reading

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